NHL

Length of deals is issue for RFAs

Share This Story

Spector

At home in Prince Edward Island, Canada, he's known as Lyle Richardson. But around these parts, he's known as Spector, FOXSports.com's Prince of Pucks. Check in with Spector's NHL Blog on Yardbarker.com for NHL rumors and analysis.

MORE>>
 
   
 

The focus this summer has been upon the unrestricted free agent market, but there’s another group of NHL free agents who still remain unsigned.

Several notable restricted free agents – those whose rights are still owned by their current teams – have yet to re-sign with their respective clubs.

The list includes Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan, Montreal’s Carey Price, Colorado’s Chris Stewart and Peter Mueller , Edmonton’s Sam Gagner, Atlanta’s Bryan Little and Niclas Bergfors, Dallas’ James Neal and Matt Niskanen, Nashville’s Patric Hornqvist, Tampa Bay’s Steve Downie, Phoenix’s Martin Hanzal and the New York RangersMarc Staal.

It’s not uncommon for restricted free agents to remain unsigned a month out from the start of training camp but it is unusual to see so many notables like the aforementioned still unsigned by mid-August.

NHL free agency

 
NHL free agency
What's the latest on NHL free agency? We've got you covered.

Ryan’s stalled talks with the Ducks have garnered the most media attention. Both sides have agreed on what he should be paid ($5 million per season) but the contract term is the sticking point.

The Ducks want to ink the 23-year-old Ryan, who’s coming off two straight 30-goal seasons, to a five-year deal but the winger reportedly wants a shorter term, preferably three years, as he believes he’ll be worth more beyond that.

The same problem is apparently a sticking point in the 24-year-old Price’s negotiations with the Canadiens, who are reportedly offering a five-year deal. He’s supposedly after a two-year contract, believing he’ll have more value beyond that point.

On the other hand, Neal is believed to be seeking a longer contract as the 23-year-old apparently spurned a two-year, $5 million offer from the Stars.

A few years ago, the Stars probably would’ve happily signed Neal, who netted 27 goals last season, to a longer term, but the team is currently under a very tight budget as it’s in the process of being sold. It’s possible once the sale is finalized Neal could be signed shortly thereafter.

Interestingly, there’s been little coming out of the New York media regarding Staal’s talks with the Rangers. About three weeks ago, Staal told a reporter he wasn’t allowed to say much about his contract talks other than to hope his agent can get a deal done with the Blueshirts soon.

That’s led some to suggest the sticking point could be that the two-year, $2.6 million per season deal signed by Erik Johnson with the St. Louis Blues is setting the market value for a comparable defenseman like Staal.

Recent reports out of Phoenix and Tampa Bay suggest the Coyotes and Lightning could be close to inking Hanzal and Downie to new deals, though there’s no word on what the two young forwards are seeking or what their clubs have offered.

As for the remainder, there’s been almost nothing of note in recent weeks coming from the players or their teams as to the status of their negotiations.

It’s possible several of these players could still be unsigned when training camp begins but unlikely they’ll still be without contracts once the season begins. None of them are expected to stage holdouts, something that has been a rarity since the imposition of the salary cap five years ago.

Given the lack of quality talent remaining in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market, the question has been raised over why some of the aforementioned RFA players haven’t received offer sheets from rival teams.

As tempting as it might be for some general managers, the fact is there weren’t many teams with a lot of available cap space heading into this summer and there are even fewer now.

Some teams – like the Ducks with Ryan and the Rangers with Staal – have publicly claimed they’ll match any offer for those players. It’s still possible there could be an offer sheet made to one of those players, but it’s a slim one at best.

It’s possible one or two could be dealt if their contract impasses continue, but most probably won’t be shopped.

Ducks management repeatedly insisted Ryan won’t be traded while a recent report out of Montreal dismissed the possibility Price would be moved.

Tagged: Stars, Canadiens, Rangers, Blues, Lightning, Coyotes, Ducks, Jets, Marc Staal, Bobby Ryan, Carey Price, James Neal

More Stories From Spector

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

NHL Videos

Toews, Kane: Easy decision to resign with Blackhawks Posted: Jul 17, 2014
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane say their decision to sign matching 8-year, $84M...

LA mayor 'F-bombs' Kings rally Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti toasts the Stanley Cup champion Kings in front o...

Kings, fans celebrate Stanley Cup Posted: Jun 16, 2014
Kings players celebrate winning the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown L...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt